LUNGREN VS. DAVIS: Differ On AIDS Funding Priorities
The two leading candidates in the state's gubernatorial race, "revealed very different attitudes" towards HIV/AIDS spending, according to a new San Francisco AIDS Foundation questionnaire. Lt. Gov. Gray Davis (D) said he would support additional funding for HIV/AIDS research if elected governor, while state Attorney General Dan Lungren (R) said he favors prevention programs and public-private partnerships. Davis said he would extend Medi-Cal eligibility to include "low- income, asymptomatic" people with HIV. Lungren said he would not, saying he favored public-private partnerships over "publicly funded entitlement programs." Davis also advocates increased AIDS research. He said, "It is imperative that we support AIDS research. Measures establishing greater research, health care and education are all vital to fighting AIDS." The AIDS Foundation reports that "Lungren remained silent on the question of committing additional funds to HIV/AIDS research," but said, "I strongly advocate education and prevention efforts that discourage high-risk activities, such as drug use and unprotected sex, and highly value intervention programs."
On the question of needle exchange programs, Davis said that "where demonstrable need exists, local governments should be free to continue their emergency authority to institute carefully controlled and monitored programs." Lungren said he would not support the exchanges, saying, "I have serious concerns regarding the mixed message a needle exchange program would promote." The survey of the candidates' opinions was conducted as part of the foundation's "Vote to End AIDS" program. Fact sheets on various candidates -- gubernatorial, U.S. Senate and U.S. House -- are posted on the foundation's website at www.sfaf.org (SFAF release, 10/14). Click here to read past coverage of needle exchange programs.